Implementing the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking
The European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) co-organised with DG Environment and the European External Action Service a thematic “Seminar on Wildlife - Implementing the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking: Stronger Engagement with Business and Communities.”
The seminar aimed at strengthening the collaboration between EC headquarters, Member States and EU Delegations on wildlife issues and convened key stakeholders in charge of the implementation of the external dimension of EU biodiversity policies, to discuss key conservation and development issues including the EU’s continental strategic approach to wildlife conservation "Larger than Elephants: Inputs for the design of an EU Strategic Approach to Wildlife Conservation in Africa" and the external dimension of the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking.
John Scanlon, Secretary General of CITES opened the meeting pointing out the compliance mechanism within the Convention and the major steps taken during the last CoP17. The role of the EU Delegation in third Countries was also underlined during the first session (The External Dimension of the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking) in particular the need of developing a wildlife enforcement network.
IFAW was invited to present its tenBoma project in the second session, “Law enforcement at local and international level: ending the killing, stopping the trafficking”, which was focused on the operational aspects of law enforcement activities aimed at curbing illegal wildlife trade, both at the local level where the wildlife is illegally harvested, and the regional and international levels.
Day one ended with concrete examples from the field about Wildlife conservation-security nexus in CAR/South-Sudan/DRC/Chad trans-border region and in Colombia and the nexus Conservation – development. It focused on how to implement conservation projects in ways that enable local communities to buy-in to conservation activities and benefit from them, and how biodiversity conservation contributes to food security, public health, and the maintenance of ecosystem services.
IFAW together with African Parks, AWF, IUCN, TRAFFIC, WCS and WWF organised a quiz on wildlife knowledge (picture above) and hosted a cocktail party. They were meant to highlight conservation and animal welfare organisations working hand-in-hand with host country governments, local people and organisations, and the EU across the world. Issues ranged from wildlife trafficking and protected areas support to broader natural resource management linked to poverty reduction and sustainable livelihoods.
Deputy Director General of DG DEVCO, Ms Marjeta Jager opened the evening underlining the key role of NGOs in wildlife protection in third countries.
On Day 2 the audience broke out in groups to discuss the upcoming Continental strategic approaches for wildlife conservation – the Asian strategy (Larger than the Tigers) and the coastal African strategy (Larger than the Whales) due to be launched at the end of 2017.
The seminar concluded noting the important commitments made by the EU with respect to climate change and the environment in its international development and cooperation policy in particular committing to doubling its biodiversity-related funding to developing countries, including commitments to spend at least 20 percent of its budget for 2014-2020.
The engagement with communities to enhance biodiversity conservation and sustainable development is nevertheless key to guarantee wildlife protection in the following years.
This two-day seminar came after a day conference hosted by DG Environment to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Wildlife Trafficking Action Plan, you can read about here.